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Old 02-21-2009, 04:40 PM   #1
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Replace old treads with Oak treads


I want to replace the old treads in a stair case from the foyer to the family room. The treads under the carpet are all beaten up and not worth saving. The old treads are currently nailed down and can be pulled up. There is no banister connected to the treads. Except for the first tread, they are wall to wall. I plan to save the risers. Does anyone know the steps to install the new treads? I heard that all I need to do is cut the new treads to size, then use a construction grade adhesive and a few nails 2 1/2" from a nail gun to hold in place. Is this true? Also, what is the best method of cutting the tread to fit? I have a circular saw and jig saw. But no bench to clamp the wood for cutting. What adhesive should I use to glue the tread to the stringer? Any suggestions? Do I need to nail or screw the riser to the tread or can I skip this? Help would be appreciated. Also, Is this the right place to ask my questions? Newbie. Thanks

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Old 02-21-2009, 05:33 PM   #2
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i'd say yes, this is the right place, here or construction. hi and welcome to the forum.
if they are all the same size, call your local lumberyard and have them cut them for you. (if you're buying the treads from them, of course)
i use PL premium construction adhesive. i did not nail the last stairs i did, i just used the glue. so far, so good. if they ever come loose, i'll attach blocks underneath and screw there so they do not show. (and reglue)
have you taken the old steps up yet? are they usable for a pattern?

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Old 02-21-2009, 05:52 PM   #3
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Replace old treads with Oak treads


Thanks DangerMouse.

Ishould be able to use the old treads as a template for measuring the new treads. However, I'm not sure how to cut the treads? Do I need to use a table to clamp the treads down while I cut them? I have a circular saw and a jig saw. Any tips for cutting the wood and nailing them down? Can I use a nail gun? Do I need to pre-drill nail holes and use finish nails? I'm not sure how to do this part. When the treads are installed, I'm going to add a runner.

FYI: Since I don't have access to the under side of the tread/stairs after the tread is installed, I don't have the option of going under the stair to add screws later if the treads become loose.

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Old 02-21-2009, 06:03 PM   #4
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Replace old treads with Oak treads


what type of wood are you using? oak?
i'd use my chop saw, but if all you have is a circular, then you might consider getting a blade with more teeth for finer cuts. it'll cut slower, but rip and shred less.
i wouldn't use a nailgun on hardwood steps, you could crack them. either predrill as you said, or flatten the tip of the nail first with a stone or file. then tap a 'starter hole' with the head or a nailset, then flip it and send it home. if the runner covers the nailholes, no problem. natural stain/varnish or paint?

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Old 02-21-2009, 09:13 PM   #5
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Paper templates are easily made. If the wall has a lot of tweaks in it a jig saw with a fine cutting blade in it will do the trick. You could even give a little bevel to keep the top edge nice and snug. You could make a jig as well that would pivot and fit against both sides. A chopsaw would do a much nicer job if you aren't good with a jigsaw. You are going to have to rip them for depth. Use a couple of clamps and offset a guide to use with your skilsaw. Rip face down to keep from getting chipouts where they'll be visible. Of course, your risers should cover that edge up if installed properly. I like to pocket screw through the riser and use construction adhesive. You could also finish nail and use construction adhesive. A little wax crayon and you'll never see them.
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:42 AM   #6
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Hopefully no one minds if I 'piggyback' on this thread.
I want to do the same thing with stairs I have going from my family room up to the kitchen. I pulled up the carpet and believe that the treads and risers are made of pine (treads have bull nose on them already). I checked under the staircase and it looks like the treads are 'let into' the stringers with wedges glued in to keep the suckers in place.
I want to get rid of the carpet because this is my main entry way into the house and wear is a concern. My questions are:
How much work (looks like a lot) is it to remove the treads if they are actually let in to the stringers ? do you cut them out from the front ?
Assuming they are pine and I leave them in, how well would they wear assuming I just cleaned them up and applied stain and poly to them ?

TIA !!
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:58 AM   #7
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Replace old treads with Oak treads


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Hopefully no one minds if I 'piggyback' on this thread.
I want to do the same thing with stairs I have going from my family room up to the kitchen. I pulled up the carpet and believe that the treads and risers are made of pine (treads have bull nose on them already). I checked under the staircase and it looks like the treads are 'let into' the stringers with wedges glued in to keep the suckers in place.
I want to get rid of the carpet because this is my main entry way into the house and wear is a concern. My questions are:
How much work (looks like a lot) is it to remove the treads if they are actually let in to the stringers ? do you cut them out from the front ?
Assuming they are pine and I leave them in, how well would they wear assuming I just cleaned them up and applied stain and poly to them ?

TIA !!
Not certain what you mean by "let into" the stringers. You talking about the bottoms of the treads being dado-ed with a groove cut into them? That's a "no-no", and would only be done if the stringers cuts were not flat and level with one another. Same with wedges. they are usually used to take up space (gaps) where the tread was either "rocking" on a high stringer, so they tightened it up with wedges on the low stringers.... or the stringer cuts were out of level.
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:40 PM   #8
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Not certain what you mean by "let into" the stringers. You talking about the bottoms of the treads being dado-ed with a groove cut into them? That's a "no-no", and would only be done if the stringers cuts were not flat and level with one another. Same with wedges. they are usually used to take up space (gaps) where the tread was either "rocking" on a high stringer, so they tightened it up with wedges on the low stringers.... or the stringer cuts were out of level.
Yeah, by 'let in' I mean dado'ed with wedges under the treads in the dado that appears to be in the stringer. Looks like all of them have the wedges.
You saying this not usual ? Could they have already had these made up (or bought) and just made it work ? Suckers don't squeak, that's for sure. At least that's what I think I saw whilst hunched over in the crawl space where the bottom of the staircase is.
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Old 03-03-2009, 01:50 PM   #9
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Installation of treads with wedges is old school. Generally not seen in todays building practice, unless they are custom made out of exotic woods. The wedges allow the treads to expand and contract as nature would have it. As you stated....NO squeaks.

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Old 03-03-2009, 02:10 PM   #10
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FYI.....check out this link
http://video.bobvila.com/m/21319687/...stallation.htm
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Old 03-03-2009, 03:49 PM   #11
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Man, that staircase looks familiar
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Old 03-03-2009, 03:57 PM   #12
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too funny. I hope you take the time to remove the wedges and re-install them, some trades use to glue the wedges in others did not. I have even come across some that pinned them in place. In my humble opinion, wedges and glue blocks are most certainly THE way to do stairs. They have proven them to last over time. Reason why we do don't do that in all our stairs is cost of labor and the skill neccessary to do it. Thats my 2 cents worth.

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Old 03-03-2009, 05:05 PM   #13
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Reason why we do don't do that in all our stairs is cost of labor and the skill neccessary to do it.
Ahh skill, now there's something I could use some of. Hate to be dense here, but how the heck would I start this ? Top or bottom stair, does it matter ? What do I do, chisel out the wedges and blocks then start beating on the treads ? Then I suppose I'd need to fabricate replacement wedges ? This sounds like it may be a bit out of my league.

Any idea if the pine treads could be dressed up and used or is the pine too soft to be used as an uncovered stair step ?
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Old 03-03-2009, 05:33 PM   #14
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Pine treads are fine, depending on how hard you are on your house. Pine has been used on stairs for many generations, although it is not considered a premium wood choice. Your decision to use pine or as you stated oak, depends on many factors, budget, decor,location,etc. To remove the wedge first look to see if they have been installed simply by hammer or with glue or nails. Most likely only wedged in place( forgive the pun). I would screw a screw in the side of the wedge to help me remove it with a hammer. The treads should be able to slide out the backside of the stairs once the wedges and glue blocks ( if any) are removed. At this point you can easily refinish( if in good enough shape) the treads or replace them with new ones. You could use the old treads as templates to ensure good fit upon installation of new ones.

hope this helps
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Old 03-03-2009, 05:59 PM   #15
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Looks like the wedges are installed with A LOT of glue. I'll try and break the glue bead between the wedge and the stringer with a knife, then use your screw idea and see if I can get the wedges/treads to move. I really would like to go for the oak if I could.

Thanks much !

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